Plan to an Online Business Success - Part 4
14. Web Advertising and Adwords
I was planning to make a short stop here and combine advertising and banner exchange but these are two very different animals that need to be treated in different ways. Furthermore, I believe that the topic of advertising on the Net is very often brushed aside as too expensive or “sold” by Gurus (in their promise to reveal the big secrets of free advertising on the Net) as the way to make money as an affiliate.
As a result, instead of doing a short overview, I decided to spend some time reviewing advertising on the Net with an emphasis on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Adwords in particular as well as keyword advertisement (I will address keyword advertisement on Facebook and the other social network in another issue) for a variety of reasons including:
- Most (if not all) people use the search function on their browser continually and are presented with ads in context with their search.
- Advertising on the Net is a necessity no matter your ranking if you want to increase your exposure, click through and hopefully conversions.
- Keyword base advertising is a blessing in disguise if you know how to use it.
- Google Adwords and tools are great for collecting tons of intelligence and using it to better understand your potential customer and what it will take to get their attention.
- Google Adwords and most SEM solutions suck for affiliates that work with networks like Clickbank, CJ, Linkshare, etc., and make a commission based on sales.
- PPC advertising can work if you have the right formula of service or product and play the game smartly
First let set the scene for search today. You may not like it but Google, Yahoo and MSN handle most of the searches on the Internet with Google the dominant figure (nothing new here).
Here are the official numbers per Nielsen for searches in 2009.
If my math is correct, this represents just over 90% of all searches on the Net.
If you are an information junkie and want to know how the other 10% is split, here it is.
My Web Search: 0.7%
Comcast Search: 0.5%
Yellow Pages: 0.4%
Next Tag: 0.3%
This demonstrates one thing to me and hopefully to you, Google is the search engine that offers the most representative information on what and how Internet users search the Net. As a result Google can probably provide you with the best intelligence on your potential customers’ habits.
So how does one use Google to gather some information without spending a fortune.
Based on most online marketing doctrines, a pay per click (PPC - also called Cost Per Click - CPC) advertising campaign has two very distinctive goals that include: 1) to insure a position on the search engines to attract potential buyers and increase sales and 2) expose your brand on the Net.
However, you must understand that Google PPC advertising formula on Adwords is designed to make as much money as possible for Google by playing you against your competitor. Adwords basic principal is that the more you pay the better your position.
And while this formula worked relatively well for most everyone at some point in time, it no longer works when keywords bids are as much as 9.00, 15.00 and yes… $30.00 (and more) per click. Do you realize that just a few years ago the average keyword on Google was $0.54 (yes that is correct FIFTY FOUR CENTS).
This reality should tell any marketer to re-evaluate the way they use Google Adwords (and the other SEM programs for that manner). My advise then is that, first and foremost, advertising on the Net should be used to 1) initially gather information on what/how information is being searched on the Net and the cost of keywords, and 2) give you the opportunity to analyze this information to find the best way to moneytize you services or products. As far as branding, In my view when it comes to PPC, this is nothing more than a “residual” effect and has minimal impact unless you already have an established brand, in which case who cares.
So how to use an Adwords campaign to get maximum bang for your buck.
You goal should be to accomplish the gathering of information (1) with minimal expenditures.
First thing is to create a campaign for each product or business that you have and then create buckets of key terms using key search software or solution as explained in the previous pages in part 1 of the Plan.
I personally recommend using a combination of two things that include:
First: Wordtracker (http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/ ) to find the keywords that work for you
Second: Adwords keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal)
Third: Use a software or solution that provides you with KEI ranking for keywords. KEI stands for Keyword Efficiency Index and uses a simple formula to gives you an idea of how to value a keyword. For example a very popular keyword will probably have a low KEI which means that even though it is popular the competition for this keyword is fierce, hence not good for you. I personally use IBP, an all-in-one software that allows me to test html, find keywords, calculate KEI, submit site, etc. If you are interested check it at http://www.ibusinesspromoter.com/
And to illustrate this here are some screen shots of an example that I am using to show how I do this.
First Wordtracker allows me to find related keyword to my theme. In this case “marketing”
The result that I get is already giving me a lot of potential for keywords and keywords buckets such as “Internet Marketing”, “Search Engine Marketing”, “Network Marketing”, “Webside marketing”. Wordtracker allows you to click on these terms and drill down to keywords that are specifically related to each.
For example clicking on "Internet Marketing" results in the following:
This is actually my first bucket of keyword that I will entitled “Internet Marketing”.
The same approach maybe taken with the other results (“Search Engine Marketing”, “Network Marketing”, “Webside marketing”, etc.)
What is critical however is to organize keywords in these buckets. I call them sub-verticals since they derive from my main vertical, in this example Marketing. These buckets will become your ad group on Adwords.
When you’ve gone through this exercise your Adwords account will look something like that:
Campaign (for example jtouboul marketing)
Group 1 – (for example Internet Marketing)
Group 2 – (for example Search Engine Marketing)
You are now ready to start with Adwords and the first thing you will need to do is to create a campaign budget and set type of campaign you want to run (search or content) and other targeting factors. Here are some recommendations:
- Set a low daily budget with limited time for the campaign to run (you can always extend it) and time during the day when you want it to run.
- Create your first ad group and set a cost per click at .35 cents for search content. Again nothing to worry about you can always change it
- Create one or more ads for each group (I suggest 2-3 per group) using your main keyword in the header (for example Internet Marketing Expert for the ads corresponding to the Internet marketing group). Look at what is there by searching Google using keywords but I suggest that you get your own message. Something that reflect who you are.
As an example for my online marketing campaign on Adwords I have 22 ad groups, 63 ads and 480 keywords, and this is just to start.
Once you have launched your campaign you will very quickly see something happen and that is the infamous “below first page bid” on some of your keywords. Nothing to worry about since the goal here is to find out how much it costs to be on first page, and not necessarily to be there. The good thing is that you will also see a cost to be on first page. In my case it varies to as much as $20.00 per click for a keyword like “email marketing software”. I guess email marketing software companies have a very high margins with the type of conversion rate one experiences with SEM.
To better manage your campaign(s) I suggest that you download Google campaign management tool called “Adwords Editor”. It comes with great features and allows you to manipulate things much faster than if you were online.
Now the game begins. Using your KEI software or solution look at your keywords with the highest KEI. Those are the keywords that may not generate great traffic but that are the most cost effective in getting you visitors. I usually increase my bid for those to be in a decent position. Not necessarily page 1 but close enough as long as it is within reasons as far as price goes.
However one of the most critical aspect of Adwords is its “Network”. I continually adjust my Managed Placement and Auto placement maximum CPC to increase traffic.
As you do the above, you will notice within a relatively short period of time that some buckets/Group show significant impressions and some don’t. This may have to do with your bid (I would suggest that you increase your search and content bid slightly to see what effect that has) or these keywords simply do not create much traffic and this is part of the game.
Within a couple of weeks of this (I usually do this for 3 weeks and spend one to two hours per day reviewing and adjusting) you will see an emerging “picture” of what is going on in your space including hot keywords, best messages, which keywords and message convert best, etc. Your spending for these two weeks may be as low as $20-30.00, but the intelligence that you will gather is worth 10 to 100 times that.
Why? Is I am sure what you are asking. Well because now you have a good “picture” of what your campaign should include as far as keywords and message to have a chance to succeed. And equipped with this information you will be able to create campaigns on Yahoo, MSN, Miva, AOL, Ask and all the other search engines while minimizing your time tweaking these campaigns. Sure there may be some different results for the same keyword on Google and AOL but is it worth spending an entire day figuring this out. I’ve always said and continue to say that Internet Marketing is a number games so once you found what works stay with it in order to minimize the time spent managing campaigns.
With this information you will also be able to better target Directories if you want to advertise on those. You will be able to better target your email campaign by better understanding what works in your message and the spaces that are hot.
All this is time consuming but it is by far one of the most critical part of your plan to success so pay special attention to it.
15. Classified Ads
For selling product or services to people Classified Ads are a possible channel. However do not expect tremendous traction. Regardless it is an interesting way to get your product or service listed and will help your PR with Google.
16. Banner Exchange
There are many places that offer Banner exchange and the rules vary. Regardless there is no great thing to be expected from banner exchange but as anything else free exposure is free exposure.
There are only two rules that I would follow:
Do not waste your time exchanging banners with a site that has a dedicated banners page. Most people don’t intentionally go a page to look for banners. Only possible exception is for a site and page that has a high ranking in which case it falls more into the Link Exchange category
Always include a call for action on a banner. For example, “Click Here”, Click to Visit”, “Click Here to Buy”, etc. The prettier the banner the more people thinks it’s an image and do not think of clicking on it
I do not have any resources on this one and suggest that you do a search on Google and see what is offered.
17. Link Exchange
The same as what I explained in “banner exchange” applies here.
There are some decent link programs that can help you find other websites and link with them relatively easily. Following are few good ones to join.
FFA was a great way to get some (and I mean “some”) traffic and, more importantly, back links for very little investment in time and money but with search engines discounting those FFA died.
This being said, it’s another of those marketing tool that died but not completely and something that maybe worth looking into for those of you who have a solid stomach and if you have the time and patience to do it.
There’s two way to deal with FFA
FFA Posting: Very poor results. I’d say a waste of time but why not if you have time
FFA Hosting: A bit more hope of getting visitors but watch out for complaints from email that you sent and that will be regarded as spam even if these people have agreed to receive it.
By the way here’s a quote I saw on a website that I think sums it all up “FFA Hosting and Posting is a war zone. No doubt about it. But if you know how to play the game on both ends, you can win the war.”
If you need assistance visit my website http://www.jtouboul.com